EFF in the News
The FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and other US government authorities now require only the signature of a single judge to hack criminal suspects' computers and personal devices regardless of where they're located. "We don’t have any confidence whatsoever that the FBI is not going to mess it up and end up causing damage to the computers that they are searching," said Nate Cardozo, senior staff attorney at the EFF. "If the malware bricks your laptop," rendering it inoperable, "you have no recourse under the new rules."
Kahle’s appeal for donations coincided this week with a triumph on another front for the Internet Archive, which announced that the FBI has backed down from a national security letter it sent the archive in August, along with an accompanying gag order, demanding information. The group challenged the gag order and has published the letter.
“People who get them can’t talk about them unless the government says they can,” said Lee Tien, a staff attorney and expert in internet rights at the Foundation.
Nate Cardozo, an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, pointed out that President-elect Trump's pick of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions- a leading critic of Apple during its' spat with the Justice Department - to be the next Attorney General could signal a willingness to go after encrypted devices, although it wasn't immediately clear what for that would take.
The FBI will now find it easier to hack your computer no matter where you are. The change, effective Thursday, affects Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure,
which are proposed by the US Department of Justice and approved by the
US Supreme Court. It will allow federal investigators to seek permission
from a magistrate judge in, say, Texas, to plant hacking software on a
computer that's disguising its location. Andrew Crocker, a staff
attorney at the privacy-oriented Electronic Frontier Foundation, said
the change is more than procedural. "Realistically," he said, "a court
is going to say, 'This is more authorized than before.'"
Changes to Rule 41 of the Criminal Procedure will make it easier for law enforcement to get warrants to hack computers. The new provisions were backed by the Justice Department and approved by the Supreme Court and were set to automatically start on December 1 without congressional action. “Congress has never held a hearing on government hacking. That’s ridiculous,” said Nate Cardozo, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Cindy Cohn, executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, said Obama could have done more to adopt lasting protections against surveillance abuses. “The Obama administration’s approach was fixing internal rules” for its own actions, Cohn said. “That leaves it really ripe for change by the next administration.”
Snapchat—newly renamed Snap Inc.—has people scrambling across the country after mysteriously appearing vending machines to buy technology that’s been available to private eyes for years: camcorder glasses. Press the button on the rim to record. Video clips are sent to your phone’s Snapchat app, where you can decide to share or save them. “If you think that someone might not want to be recorded or aren’t expecting to be recorded, do more to inform them you are going to record, or simply just ask them,” advises Jeremy Gillula, senior staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
When should the public be concerned about Shadow Regulations encroaching on Internet freedoms? Whenever there is no space for transparency, accountability and user participation, very shady Shadow Regulations can be implemented. Mitch Stoltz, Senior Staff Attorney at EFF, explained, "It's an abdication of responsibility to pressure platforms like Facebook to come up with a policy and enforce it while government washes its hands [of any responsibility]."
Tech and civil liberties advocates are imploring the Obama administration to rein in the government's massive surveillance apparatus before President-elect Donald Trump takes office, fearful he will carry out his campaign promises to register Muslims, spy on mosques and punish companies that offer Americans unbreakable encryption. "The surveillance apparatus is going to be turned disproportionately against Muslims," said Nate Cardozo, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights advocate. "It's going to be turned disproportionately against people of color of all kinds, against immigrants.